Russian migration service accepting visa applications from Arctic Sunrise crew

More than 20 foreign citizens from the crew of the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise have applied to the Russian Federal Migration Service for exit visas, a FMS spokesman told Interfax on Thursday.

More than 20 foreign citizens from the crew of the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise have applied to the Russian Federal Migration Service for exit visas, a FMS spokesman told Interfax on Thursday.

"Visa applications are currently being accepted. More than 20 people have already submitted the documents," he said.

"The visas for the foreign citizens of Arctic 30 should be ready on Thursday and Friday," Greenpeace Russia said on its Twitter page on Wednesday.

The Russian Investigative Committee earlier dropped the criminal cases against the Arctic Sunrise crew.

The environmentalists, who faced charges of hooliganism, went free under the Russian amnesty law, which was adopted by the State Duma, the lower chamber of Russia's parliament, on December 18 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the country's constitution.

"There is a high degree of probability that they will be able to see the New Year in at home," Greenpeace Russia programs director Ivan Blokov told Interfax.

Russian border guards seized 30 activists and crewmembers of the Arctic Sunrise on September 19, 2013, for an attempted protest against oil drilling at the Prirazlomnaya oilrig in the Pechora Sea.

The environmentalists were brought to Murmansk and sentenced to two months confinement. All of them were transferred to detention facilities in St. Petersburg on November 12. St. Petersburg courts released each of the defendants on 2-million-ruble ($60,500) bail.

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